May 23, 2007

The Brain Drain At The Top

The Taliban's offensive operations have ground to a halt due to a lack of mid-level commanders, and the loss of their highest-ranking military general has their troops despondent, the Telegraph reports. They had planned for a big push this spring to reverse their fortunes against the NATO coalition, but instead they have been set back on their heels with not much hope for future of their fight:

The Taliban's much-vaunted spring offensive has stalled apparently due to lack of organisation after dozens of middle-ranking commanders were killed by British troops in the past year, according to military sources.

The death last week of the key Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah at the hands of American special forces has harmed the Taliban's morale to the point that local commanders are having to tell their troops to "remain professional" despite the loss. ...

A spring offensive was ordered by the Taliban leadership based in Quetta, Pakistan, and was meant to be launched in late March.

But a lack of mid-level commanders has meant that there has been little co-ordination to bring about the offensive.

"They are getting strategic guidance from Quetta but this is not translating on the ground," a military source said.

Even the most successful of the Taliban contingents has its share of problems. In Helmand, where the American commander of the NATO forces had to force a tactical change to hot pursuit, the Taliban have an "irreconcilable" force of about 1,000 -- but they include a significant number of outsiders and part-timers. NATO forces in that area have stopped the practice of allowing cease-fires with Taliban elements, which allowed the "irreconcilables" to garner their strength, and they now have the same problems as the rest of the Taliban.

The failure of the spring offensive will probably prove fatal to the aspirations of Mullah Omar to seize power. He has lost three of his four top lieutenants in the past five years since his expulsion, and he has not even come close to winning. Without Mullah Dadullah and field commanders like Mullah Najibullah, Omar has little skill left in the field and fewer Afghans fighting for his cause. The fact that his hopes now hinge on a force made up largely of foreign fighters and part-timers in Helmand shows that his movement has dissipated.

They're giving it one more try this summer, but if the NATO forces continue with their new, aggressive tactics, the Taliban and Omar will face a very long winter. At some point, and it appears almost at hand, his men will either abandon him or betray him as they finally figure out that the war is over, and they lost it -- badly.


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Comments (13)

Posted by rob | May 23, 2007 6:17 AM

sounds like great news...wonder why the msm has failed to report this. Just kidding...I DO know why the msm failed to report it: Good news is no news...

Posted by Keemo | May 23, 2007 7:04 AM

This is GREAT news for the civilized world; especially good news for the Afghanistan's...

This is BAD news for Democrats and the anti-war - Anti-American crowd lead by George Soros & his gang of Pelosi's...

Posted by PapaBear | May 23, 2007 7:11 AM

Since we know that their leadership is in Quetta, Pakistan, perhaps the next step should be to track down exactly where in Quetta they are, and reward them with a JDAM. (Pakistani govt protests be damned)

Posted by Bruce | May 23, 2007 7:13 AM

For a very good read and an amazing insight into the region see
The Story of the Malakand Field Force: An Episode of Frontier War
by Winston Churchill

free at

Posted by rbj | May 23, 2007 7:59 AM

Just keep the pressure on them, hunt them down and kill them.

And help the Afghans to rebuild their country.

Posted by grognard [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 23, 2007 8:20 AM

My feeling is that rather than attack NATO forces in Afghanistan they will turn their attentions to Pakistan. Virtually every province around Waziristan has been subject to attacks and locals intimidated. Musharraf has political problems and is vulnerable. What better headache to hand the Americans than a destabilized Pakistan and another failed state that the US would have to police.

Posted by Gary | May 23, 2007 8:44 AM

Taliban HQ is beginning to operate like the Fuhrerbunker in late April 1945.

Next chapter: Mullah Omar takes Cyanide.

Posted by fdcol63 | May 23, 2007 9:24 AM


You raise a good possibility. But if this were to occur, I think we'd probably get some help from India ...... they definitely don't want Muslim radicals controlling Pak's nukes.

What happens then with respect to Russia and China is anyone's guess, though.

Posted by NahnCee | May 23, 2007 11:14 AM

What happens then with respect to Russia and China is anyone's guess, though.

Hasn't Pakistan's rogue nuke doctor been selling stuff to North Korea? I'm not aware of any evidences of concern by China over *that* practice.

Russia, of course, doesn't care. The KGB is busy retaking control of that country, although when they finally gain absolute and ultimate authority there, they will be in charge of an alcoholic, AIDS-riddled, rusted-out hulk, so big deal.

Posted by North Shore | May 23, 2007 1:20 PM

If Al Qaeda starts going after the tribal hegemony in Pakistan, they raise the distinct possibility of toppling (not overthrowing) Musharref - more instability, less central authority, greater threats to the populace, etc. However, such a strategy also raises the possibility that the tribal authorities that have heretofore been sheltering AQ and the good mullah will turn against them.

If these forces align, even marginally, with the central government, who knows how things might look. Also, alienating the locals would likely open the door to significant clandestine activity by the US.

The possibilities look good (by comparison) these days. Certainly the successes in Al Anbar will be known in Afghanistan. The tribal leaders there can look forward to years of dealing with psychotic murderous thugs, but weak, if any central authority if they side with the Taliban/AQ. On the other hand, they can expect a diminution of their autonomy, but with brighter prospects and televison if they side with the central government.

I would be watching for changes in tribal allegiances. I am sure that they can tell which way the wind is blowing (and are better indicators than our intelligence).

Posted by fdcol63 | May 23, 2007 1:44 PM


My question was not whether or not Russia or China would be concerned about Pak's nukes.

It was about what their reaction would be to India's stepped-up allliance and cooperation with the US inside Pakistan itself if we had to move to deal with a militant seizure of Pak's nuke arsenal.

Posted by burt | May 23, 2007 2:07 PM

Sadr has had several lives. Omar has had more than one. These guys may be immortal.

Posted by Robert in Calgary | May 23, 2007 9:28 PM

This is truly excellent news; if only the Canadian main stream media would report this fact of a failed Taliban 2007 spring offensive, but that does not seem to fit their agenda.